What And Why

What:

The HP Computer Museum is a collection of old Hewlett-Packard computer hardware, software, documentation and other marketing materials from HP's early years in the computer industry (beginning in 1966). The Museum is privately funded and owned by Wordsong Communications Pty. Ltd. The museum is not a commercial enterprise; it’s a resource for the enthusiastic and for the curious. The museum is housed in a 2500 square-foot building (shed, really) in Melbourne, Australia. The museum is not open to the public, but is viewable by appointment. Please contact us if you would like to visit the museum.

Scope:

The museum’s long-term goal is to have working models of all computers and peripherals produced by Hewlett-Packard during the company’s first 25 years in the industry (1966 to 1991). The museum also contains some interesting examples of HP computer technology from the post-1991 period. The museum does not include any HP instruments.

Why:

The period of greatest innovation in any industry occurs during the birth and early growth periods. This is true of the computer industry and of HP's involvement in the industry. HP is one of only two major “survivors” of the early entrants in the computer industry, the other being IBM. It is interesting to track HP's progress in the industry and to speculate as to why HP survived into middle age when almost all others failed. From a historical perspective, HP is most notable for its pioneering company culture “The HP Way”.

The Museum Web Site:

The museum’s web site is continuously updated as more material is added. All photographs and original text are copyright Wordsong Communications Pty. Ltd. We have reserved copyright on our photographs primarily to prevent possible misrepresentations in the “internet world”. The web has a very active market for second hand computers, and we would hate to see our pictures used to misrepresent an auction, for example. In most cases, we are happy to approve the use of our photographs. Please contact us first. If you spot an inaccuracy in our content or have any suggestions on how we might improve our site, please contact us.

Web Site Statistics:

The web site consists of: 6000 manuals and documents, 3700 photos, 1050 hardware items and 500 downloadable software titles. In 2013, we averaged just over 13,500 unique visitors per month, generating just over 300,000 hits per month. By country (in descending order), the biggest users of the web site are: USA, China, France, Italy, Ukraine, Russia and South Korea. About 65 percent of our visitors come to us from bookmarks on their browsers, 9 percent come via links from other sites and 26 percent find us through web searches. We welcome any help we can get in developing our site. 

How To Find What You Are Looking For:

The museum’s web site contains items for which we have either a physical unit, manual or a technical data sheet. In most cases, we have at least two of the three. If you are looking for a specific item, use the "Search" function. Type in the product number or name of the item you are looking for. The web site's product descriptions are very brief. For detailed technical information, go to the product you want, then click on the "Product Documentation" menu selection for a listing of all literature available on the product. Also, be sure to check the main product classification page. On this page, we post product literature that relates to more than a single product. For example, you can find information on the 9816 on both the "9816" page and on the "200 Series" page.

If you are only interested in information for a particular category of products, use the "Advanced Search" function.

Most of the posted documentation requires Adobe Acrobat 6.0 (or later) to view. Use the main menu selections on the left to browse the museum by product type. These classifications are general groupings of types of products or series of products. To get a complete listing of all exhibits and materials on the museum's web site, click the word "Documents" at the bottom of the main menu on the left. This is a long list.

Donating, Buying, Selling, Trading:

The museum uses all means of acquiring new materials. Naturally, we welcome product and document donations. About ninety percent of the items in the museum have come via donation. We also buy and trade for items we need. If you are interested in helping us develop the museum (or know someone who might be), please view our easy ways to help and Items we are looking for pages.

Ongoing Priorities and Future Directions for the Museum:

Recreating and preserving HP computing history is an ambitious undertaking. Our current priorities, ongoing projects and future directions are outlined below:

- Expanding the collection remains our top priority. As time goes on, these items become harder to find, not easier. We have plenty of holes to fill in our collection. In addition to hardware, software, manuals and other documentation, we collect company newsletters, division newsletters, old computer industry magazines and other items.

- HP Division Histories. Decentralisation was a key contributor to the growth and success of "The HP Way" culture. With few if any exceptions, it's much easier to enjoy working for a small company than for a large company. HP divisions were the small companies for which HP employees worked. The museum is compiling content on the development of HP computer divisions including maps, photographs, histories and division newsletters.

- Identification of Individuals. The museum would like to identify as many of the original creators of the museum's content as possible. Specifically, we would like to identify: members of product development teams, manufacturing, production and marketing engineers, writers of documentation (manuals and promotional literature), models in photographs (manuals, catalogues and promotional literature), authors of software, etc. If you are such a person or knows who is, please let us know.


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The HP Computer Museum and Wordsong Communications Pty. Ltd. are not affiliated with the Hewlett Packard Company or with Hewlett Packard Australia Ltd. Hewlett Packard and the HP logo are trademarks of the Hewlett Packard company. This website is intended solely for research and education purposes.

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